Flood at Antioch College

Feb 9, 2009

Yellow Springs resident Brian Springer was the first to notice the flooding to Main Hall on Saturday.

"I was walking my dog and noticed that the walls looked very wet and I looked in the window and saw, although it was nice and warm outside, it was raining inside the building and water was splashing everywhere and pooling," says Springer.

Springer then called the Miami Township Fire and Rescue department, who determined that it was a broken pipe from the attic and water had been flowing throughout the building.

"What we find a little bit frustrating is that on December 25th, a pipe broke in the attic of South Hall, also a historic building. You would think after that pipe broke and flooded all four floors of that building, you might go look at the other pipes, especially at this building which is on the National Historic Register, to make sure it was properly protected," says Springer.

Lynda Sirk, a spokesperson for the University, says the situation at the Main Hall is different because there was no alarm system in place that could have minimized the damage.

"The difference is that the system in the Main building, being over fifty years old, does not have the capability of having that kind of system of an alarm placed on it," says Sirk.

A demonstration in response to the flooding took place Monday afternoon. Residents gathered to express their concern about how the University has been caring for the building, which has been closed since June 2008.

Peter Townsend is a former professor at Antioch.

"The damage through the winter to the buildings from water suggest that the University has not been very carefully caring for the buildings and we're worried that that's going to affect the negotiations for the future of the college," says Peter Townsend, a former professor at Antioch.

"This has nothing to do with whether or not the building was occupied or unoccupied, whether it was winter or summer, whether it was wet or dry. It has everything to do with the age of the system and we've gone through every inspection we could have and should have and passed it," says Sirk.

Sirk says Antioch University is working with the insurance company to properly assess the damage and that clean up will likey begin very soon. Sirk says a professional cleaning company is bringing in a lot of equipment, and that can take some time.

"They're going to put 150 fans on each floor to dry it out and so that's assembling a quite few fans," says Sirk.

Sirk says there's little concern for mold damage as all the carpeting and ceiling tiles will be removed in the building. She says the entire process should take around ten days.